Royals conclude mixed week with Petersfield success

By Connor Steel

AFC PORTCHESTER concluded their mixed week of results with victory as they hosted local team Petersfield Town on Saturday afternoon; eventually beating their mid-table opponents three-one after this patient and extremely hard-fought display from their penultimate home game in front of nearly four hundred supporters at a warm On-Site Group Stadium.

The visitors began brightly under sunny skies and saw the opening chance within three minutes when Tommy Tierney’s drive was deflected wide; Harvey Aston nodding over the bar from the resulting corner. But their momentum was halted when Conor Bailey suffered a knock after a defending effort and needed minor treatment; leading to an early stoppage.

Dave Carter’s team used this opportunity to regroup and started to assert a control of possession leading up to the half hour mark; but often lacked the final ball or cross against a stubborn visiting defence. This did not stop the Royals from having attempts on target with Scott Jones and Charlie Williamson both denied by Petersfield keeper Harry Greenfield.

Jones was involved in Portchester’s next chance on thirty-nine minutes as his fine flicked ball landed to Liam Robinson down the opposite wing; the winger setting up Archie Wilcox who shot into the side netting. Down the other end Tierney broke free on 43 minutes and passed to Liam Kimber to fire harmlessly over under pressure to end a goalless first half.

It was a slow start to the second period as both teams appeared to cancel each other out in a midfield battle which was broken when Wilcox won the ball and powerfully drilled over the bar. Home substitutions further followed on 55 minutes before an away player was sent to the sin-bin for a show of dissent; a moment that ultimately changed this entire clash.

Portchester took the lead just seconds later when quick attacking interplay found Brett Williams in space and the striker made no errors in netting past the diving Greenfield for one-nil. And the home side then doubled their lead on sixty-four minutes when Wilcox converted a cross into the bottom right corner despite the huge efforts of a defender getting back.

A third goal followed with twenty left to play and it came from a poor mistake from Petersfield’s backline; which allowed Harvey Hughes the opportunity to tap home inside this empty net for 3-0. This is how it stayed until the first seconds of added time as the visitors deservedly pulled one back through Matty Dougan, who easily fired home inside the far post.

Other results on Saturday mean that Portchester will likely stay fourth in the table going into their final two games of the season; which will see them host Andover New Street on Tuesday and then travel to second place AFC Stoneham next Saturday. The promotion play-offs and two cup finals then await the team in what would finish a ‘memorable’ campaign.

PICTURED BY NATHAN LIPSHAM: Home defender wins ball in the air despite attentions from four Petersfield players.